Sunday, March 01, 2015

On The Campaign Trail: An Evening With Minister Ed Fast

Senator Leo Housakos, Minister Ed Fast, Valérie Assouline

As many of you no doubt already know, I have signed on to help our riding's Conservative Party candidate, Valérie Assouline, in any way I can on the campaign trail. Even though the campaign hasn't even gotten into full-swing mode, I have already attended a couple of events and Thursday night was another one for the books.

This past Thursday evening, I was asked if I could make myself available for an event at a local restaurant and that Minister Ed Fast would be in attendance. Minister Fast is with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet in the role of International Trade Minister. I am still rather new to politics, just finding my way around the landscape both on the local and federal levels. But it was going to be an exciting evening, I knew this already.

I asked if Valérie needed any help polishing her speech. Last time we'd met, I had mentioned my writing abilities were my forte, and she actually said she might need my help on speeches. So, I took the bull by the horns and asked if that was the case. I ended up on the phone with her several times that day, listening to what she had (which was already magnificent) and helping her with new passages, and polishing up the ideas she had.

Personal Interjection:
 Here's something you might know about me, but if you don't, here it is: I am a huge fan of The West Wing. I had not watched when it aired, but caught it one summer when I had no courses to take, and was instantly hooked. Besides owning the DVD box set, I have watched the series in its entirety (all 7 seasons) at least 5 times; it is that rewatchable.

Why do I love the show? It's about a Democratic President, whose values I now do not hold as my own, and whose party I would not support were I American.

I watch it because it is sharp. The dialogue is witty and compelling, the characters fully dimensionalized, and I happen to adore behind-the-scenes glimpses at lifestyles which intrigue me. I got into the show way before I was politically intrigued, but now that I'm involved, it is even more fascinating to me.

One character who held my interest from the start was Sam Seaborn. Rob Lowe's character was the Deputy Communications Director, and the skilled speechwriter for the administration. I loved the way Sam Seaborn would spend hours on draft after draft just to get the cadence right, or that one elusive passage just so, or even one word that didn't make itself known until the 30th draft. Sam embodied my sense of perfectionism, especially as a writer.

Well, I got to let out my inner Sam Seaborn, and it was even more rewarding when Valérie liked my ideas or my phrasing. But nothing came close to the excitement I felt when I listened to her speak, and heard those words we'd brainstormed not only resonating through the room but clearly moving the attendees. She energizes people with her passionate delivery.

Personal gratification aside, this evening was another exceptional event. Minister Fast is a humble, soft-spoken man whose speech was riveting. He spoke about our country in such patriotic terms I felt my own love for Canada renewing upon itself as he spoke. He talked about the achievements our government has accomplished, goals met and surpassed, success after success, and in every possible area of Canadian life (from the economy, to business, to security, to international affairs and foreign relations). It made me prouder than ever to be a supporter of Prime Minister Harper, and it reaffirmed to me that being involved in this campaign is one of the most important things I have ever done.

The evening was a huge success. Valérie spoke beautifully, passionately, and her convictions were inherent in her tone and her words. Minister Fast held us all rapt. Senator Leo Housakos spoke just as beautifully, supporting Valérie and her abilities to represent this riding as we've needed for too long.

Afterwards, many people with whom I spoke mentioned how impressed they were with the speeches. One note in particular: Minister Fast talked about government and the notion that jobs are created by government. We've heard this for years, from Canadian AND American politicians. You won't hear it from Stephen Harper or those with whom he surrounds himself. Know why?

Because government does not - and can not - create jobs.

See, a true leader creates an environment of trade and economy in which businesses thrive. That is how jobs are created; businesses grow, employers hire, and the cycle repeats. Anyone who listens to a politician say s/he will create jobs is buying into the myth.

I will touch upon this in a subsequent entry.

But the evening was another exciting time for me as a part of what will only increase in the thrills of witnessing what I'm sure will be the election of a truly devoted MP for our riding. I encourage you to "like" Valérie's Facebook page to keep up with events, photos, and information.

After all - information is power and I'm sure once you learn more about what she - and the Tories - stand for, you'll see why it's so important to vote Conservative in October.

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